SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2009
JU routs unbeaten Butler, 36-7
The JU football team knocked Butler from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 36-7 rout on Senior Day at D.B. Milne Field.
The Dolphins (6-4, 5-2 PFL) clinched their second straight winning season with their best performance of the season. The defense kept the Bulldogs (9-1, 6-1 PFL) off the scoreboard, forcing several turnovers and the offense made some big plays to keep Butler from rallying.
Leading the defensive effort in his last home game was Haywood Range. The defensive lineman had nine tackles, two sacks, three tackles for a loss and one forced fumble.
“We talked this week about making a statement to the league that we were a very good team and that we’re playing at a high level now,” said JU head coach Kerwin Bell. “I’m really glad for our seniors to go out with this win, especially a guy like Haywood Range.
“He’s a guy that we were concerned about entering the season as an interior lineman and now we don’t know what we’re going to do without him. He had such a great game today and I’m extremely proud of him and what’s he accomplished.”
For the JU offense, it was just another day of rewriting the record book.
Josh McGregor completed 10-of-19 passing for 157 yards and three touchdowns to break his own single-season passing yards record while surpassing Chris Horton for the career record in passing yards at JU. In just 23 games, McGregor has racked up 4,915 passing yards – shattering the previous record of 4,868 set by Horton in 2007.
Topping that off was McGregor’s second touchdown pass of the game was a 42-yard toss to Josh Philpart for his 12th touchdown of the season and the 16th of his career, breaking a tie with Geavon Tribble for the most receiving touchdowns in JU history. Philpart finished with two catches for 46 yards, putting him 28 yards from tying the school’s single-season record of 890.
While the aerial attack was in fine form, Rudell Small led the ground attack with his fourth straight 100-yard game – picking up 103 yards on 18 carries with one touchdown, a 54-yard run. The big day put Small over the 1,000 yard mark for the second straight season and increased his career rushing record total to 2,884.
“We didn’t have a lot of play today on offense, but we took advantage of the ones that we did,” Bell said. “We wanted to run the ball and Rudell did a good job of that throughout the game. Josh did a good job of making decisions and directing the offense today.”
After squandering its first two drives into JU territory, Butler scored first when Andrew Huck hooked up on 7-yard touchdown pass to Dan Bohrer with 7:45 left in the second quarter.
From there, the Dolphins dominated.
JU scored on five of its next six possessions, starting with McGregor tossing a 10-yard touchdown pass to Chris Kuck to tie the game with 6:48 left in the first half. McGregor’s 42-yard toss on a flea flicker to Philpart gave the Dolphins a 14-7 lead at halftime.
After forcing Huck to fumble and watching Jordan Dewhirst return it 47 yards, McGregor hooked up with Kuck again – from two yards out to make it 20-7. On the extra point attempt, Kuck fielded the high snap and took off – leaping into the end zone for the 2-point conversion to make it 22-7.
JU got the ball back after a 3-and-out and went back to work quickly, with Small racing through the Bulldog defense for the touchdown to make it 29-7.
Brian Valdez provided the knockout punch for the Dolphins on the first play of the next drive, picking off Huck’s pass and returning it 42 yards for a touchdown to put JU on top, 36-7.
The Dolphin defense was harassing the Butler quarterback all day, knocking him down at least seven times in the contest and holding him to just 220 yards in the air – completing 21-of-35 with two interceptions.
Scott Gray led the Bulldogs’ rushing attack with 87 yards on 19 carries.
The Dolphins wrap up their 2009 season next week as they travel to Campbell. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. Fans looking to make the trip with the Dolphins can join the Fan Bus making the trip. Seats are available for $50. For more information, contact Nikki Swanson at (904) 256-7400.